What it is to paint for me is hard to describe.
It's an extraordinary, expressive and meditative art, like dancing and singing all at once and these actions producing colour that we can see!
When I was still of school age I recall painting irises. These beautiful flowers are a treat for the eyes. And one of my fondly recalled images is a painting of irises done in water-colour, probably in my teens.
But paintings were few and far between for me then. And it wasn't something I thought about for years, until my mum left me a note one day saying 'Paint me something'. I went out and bought some paints and brushes. I had never used oil paint before, but I felt drawn to it.
As soon as I released the first colour from the tube, and started applying it to brush and canvas, I discovered the exquisite sensuous beauty of these paints. The colours they can produce are remarkable, and the smooth way they can glide onto a canvas, makes the physical act of painting one that has grace, freedom and flow.
The paint also has a remarkable ability to stay wet and workable for a long time, so blending can be done on the canvas over several hours or days.
And blending was what I did!
I tried colour combinations and shapes of all sorts. Sometimes I tried to make something figurative - a tree, a pumpkin, for example. But the place I really found my excitement, fun, expression was in what I did in the backgrounds behind these images. Colourscapes and swooshy worlds of colour and formless form.
These energies and elements have remained the core of the majority of the paintings I now do. I still experiment and play, with texture, with canvasses, with brushes and am fascinated and delighted by what comes up!
I often start a painting with a specific image in mind. It might come to me spontaneously, or through some thought until I find in my mind something I want to produce. However I have never once painted that which I set out to paint! The brush on the canvas, the particular way the paint flows that day, the mood in the air, some mysterious energy on the ether, something will always come and offer a new avenue to explore, or steer my hand to the right when I intended left and soon a whole new picture is created. I love this!
The paintings are spontaneous, improvised and often are something I discover as I paint them. Like I'm brushing away the sand that's built up on an archaeological site. The image was always there, waiting to be unearthed and seen. It's thrilling!
As it's a voyage of discovery, it may not always be clear when the painting is finished. Sometimes I want to stop a painting mid flow, because there's a part that seems so perfect I want to preserve just that one area. Sometimes I don't want to stop adding, tweaking, experimenting, exploring. Sometimes I sit right in between, feeling I could have stopped sooner and I could have gone further, but finding that this moment is the right one.
I almost always listen to music or have some dramatic film or TV series playing while I paint. The sounds, the energy, enhance the emotional landscape within, offer me something audible to dance to. Playing some sort sound or film, especially one that is familiar to me, also takes up a particular part of my cognitive attention, which helps me actually focus on full creation. In silence I would have more space to make logical decisions about each paint stroke. With the distraction, I'm a little more free to let the feelings take over.
I have a similar experience with writing. I sometimes will specifically leave my home to find a busy café, or sit in a city square, or take a train, so that my eyes, ears, nose etc have lots going on, white noise almost, and that part of me that creates has free reign to put what I need to express into words.
Below is every painting I currently have in my house. I would like to get each one scanned in order to produce high quality prints. In the meantime please enjoy this collection of paintings. Each one is available for sale. If there's any image that you are interested in, please feel free to get in contact.